This is yet another summer of quiet for me. Due to quarantine requirements here and the uncertainty of rapidly shifting guidelines/requirements I made the decision to not go “home” (again) this summer. I was determined to make “good use” of this summer and interpreted that in many ways. I need 6 graduate credits every 5 to recertify, so that was goal one (I do not need to recertify until the summer of 2024, so that is some forward thinking!). I took care of that in the first two weeks of summer because I am an expert procrastinator and I did not want that hanging over my head.
This, as it turned out, was perfect timing, because two of my favorite summer pd opportunities were set to start the next week, Kate Messner’s Teachers Write and Penny Kittle’s Book Love. I have participated in both for years and look forward to them, as they are great professional development and available to dip in and out of at your own pace and time.
But, on to my small moment… Imagine, if you will, chubby, little Erika in February of 2020 realizing the little daily exercise she got was going to be eliminated by working from home. My impetuous COVID purchase was an exercise bike. I am not an exercise kind of person, but I dutifully assembled it, and sat on it once or twice before the end of the school year. Near the end of that school year I decided it needed to be used for more that a place to hang my clothes, so I started with 15 minutes a day, on level one- a good beginning. I have now worked my way up to 30 minutes a day at level 11 and I am a little less chubby.
Yesterday someone on Twitter posted something about their 40 minute ride while listening to a podcast, so today’s next step was to move on to 40 minutes. Conveniently Clare Landrigan had posted her discussion with Laura Jiménez in the Book Love Facebook group and it was just over 40 minutes- talk about multi-tasking, I could do something I (still) do not love while listening to something inspiring. Minute by minute I pedaled and listened, but then came the problem… Those smarties kept saying things I wanted to remember-grr! Still I pedaled on. I usually bike before breakfast, so my stomach may have been rumbling, but that was dulled by the food for my brain. Laura was talking all about graphic novels and marginalized identities and throwing out names and numbers I wanted to have at hand to pass on to skeptical colleagues or worried parents. Still I pedaled.
I will admit I did glance down at the timer function on my bike a few times, as I wiped the sweat from my eyes, but the 40+ minute conversation sure made the bike ride more pleasant. These conversations are often broadcast live for those in convenient time zones, so questions can be asked and answered, but the conversation always continues afterward. There are more than 1300 educators in 15 countries participating and the content is always thought provoking. There are two groups- one for elementary and one for middle/high, but you can access all content. Each group has 4 books that have been selected and over the course of the 5 weeks there are author/illustrator interviews, discussions with thought leaders, ideas for how to use the texts in class, so many extra resources, and so much more. This morning as I pedaled I was thinking of Book Love and how doing the work is the only way to make change and it was doubly so today. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have to learn with others and work to be a better teacher even in this summer where I really need lots of down time to mentally prepare for the reality that we are likely starting school online again in two weeks. I know some teachers are committed to no school work over the summer, and if this is you the good news is that all of the material is there for you for a full year. If you are finding yourself getting a little restless you can dive in now (or wait until you are ready). I also love that the $60 it costs me goes right back to getting great books in the hands of kids! Every summer I think that THIS time Book Love has really outdone themselves- and then the next summer comes along. I am glad I joined again! Doing the work of thinking and growing as an educator in the company of so many others while also being able to achieve some of my own personal goals (I am looking at you exercise bike) that is my win x almost infinity in this cloudy Tuesday morning.
PS You can still join! Click the Book Love link above! I know this may read as an ad, but not my intention- just thinking about goals and working together even while apart. Now I need to watch that video again to get down the wisdom in my notebook!